Vista Service Guide: Part 3

Posted in Windows Vista by Steve Sinchak

As I mentioned in Vista Service Guide Part 1 and 2, Windows Vista has several new services and features that we do not all need. I have gone through the list of services that are running in Windows Vista and compiled a list of services that you can safely disable. Before I get started, it is necessary to understand how to disable services in Windows Vista. Similar to other version of Windows, you will be using the Services MMC.  Follow the steps below to get started with the Services applet.
  1. Click the Start Button, key in services.msc and hit Enter.
  2. To stop and disable a service, just right click on a service and select Properties.
  3. Then, in the properties box change the Startup type to Disabled and hit OK. The next time that you restart your computer the service will no longer be able to start.

Now that you know the basics of disabling a service, I can begin going over the services that I have found that can be disabled to increase your system performance. Below is a list of services that can be disabled. Some provide value added features, so if you use a feature associated with the service consider if it is really worth the slight performance gain compared to the usefulness of the feature.

Themes - Provides user experience theme management.

UPnP Device Host - Allows UPnP devices to be hosted on this computer. If this service is stopped, any hosted UPnP devices will stop functioning and no additional hosted devices can be added. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

WebClient - Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files. If this service is stopped, these functions will not be available. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Windows Audio – Manages audio for Windows-based programs.  If this service is stopped, audio devices and effects will not function properly.  If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start

Windows Audio Endpoint Builder - Manages audio devices for the Windows Audio service.  If this service is stopped, audio devices and effects will not function properly.  If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Windows Defender - Scan your computer for unwanted software, schedule scans, and get the latest unwanted software definitions.

Windows Error Reporting Service - Allows errors to be reported when programs stop working or responding and allows existing solutions to be delivered. Also allows logs to be generated for diagnostic and repair services. If this service is stopped, error reporting might not work correctly and results of diagnostic services and repairs might not be displayed. This service has always been a favorite for power users to disable. I'm not going to lie, it will give you a slight performance gain if you disable it since less overhead = more resources for your apps. However, Windows Vista is in Beta! Why wouldn't you want Microsoft to hear about the problems you are having. Don't you want them to be aware of issues you are having?

Windows Firewall - Windows Firewall helps protect your computer by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the Internet or a network.

Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) - Provides image acquisition services for scanners and cameras.

Windows Management Instrumentation - Provides a common interface and object model to access management information about operating system, devices, applications and services. If this service is stopped, most Windows-based software will not function properly. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start. This service is used a lot in the enterprise environment in scripting events on computers. In the home area, there is no use for it and can be disabled. If in the future you ever have any problems with installing programs, try re-enabling this service again since some, not all, tend to use it.

Windows Search - Provides content indexing and property caching for file, email and other content (via extensibility APIs).  The service responds to file and email notifications to index modified content.  If the service is stopped or disabled, the Explorer will not be able to display virtual folder views of items, and search in the Explorer will fall back to item-by-item slow search.

Windows Time - Maintains date and time synchronization on all clients and servers in the network. If this service is stopped, date and time synchronization will be unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start.

Windows Update - Enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows and other programs. If this service is disabled, users of this computer will not be able to use Windows Update or its automatic updating feature, and programs will not be able to use the Windows Update Agent (WUA) API. While many disable this service, I think you are crazy if you do these days.

You have now finished part 3 of my service guide for Microsoft Windows Vista!  If you have not already done so, take a look at part 1 or part 2 of my guide.

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